The foundation

The Maecenata Foundation is an independent think tank, specialising in the subjects of civil society, civic engagement, philanthropy and foundations. It has the legal form of a non-profit foundation under civil law and is based in Munich. It was founded in 2010 and has encompassed all Maecenata activities under its roof since 2011. The Foundation manages and collates the activities of its programmes and publishes its stance on major issues. It sees itself as an ideal service provider for civil society and advocates its transnational strengthening and the development of an open society in Europe and beyond. The Maecenata Foundation realises its statutory purposes through three permanent programmes and other projects.


1. Maecenata Institute

2. Europa Bottom-Up

3. Tocqueville Forum

4. MENA Study Centre

5. Transnational Giving

Further Projects

Deutscher Kulturrat e.V.

The Maecenata Foundation is involved in cultural policy through its staff. The Maecenata Foundation is involved in cultural policy through the people working in it. This includes, among other things, working in two specialist committees of the German Cultural Council: in the specialist committee for Europe/ international affairs and in the tax committee.  >> Further information

Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea)

The Maecenata Foundation is a member of the Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea), an international association of foundations and socially committed companies that advocate for a foundation and donation-friendly legal and financial framework at the European level. The organisation’s goals and activities also include preparing and documenting the foundation and donation landscape, strengthening the third sector’s infrastructure, promoting cooperation, both between foundations themselves and between other actors, as well as promoting the common good in and outside of Europe. >> Further information

The discussion group for leading organisations in monument protection

The Maecenata Foundation is in charge of moderating the working groups meetings for leading organisations in the field of monument protection.

Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform gGmbH

The Quelle Innovation Foundation, which is affiliated with the Maecenata Foundation, is a shareholder of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform GmbH (HVGP), now called . Its aim was to enable the Maecenata Foundation to actively participate in its work. Its Director is Professor Dr Gesine Schwan. The task of this new institution is, among other things, to carry out topic-specific dialogues between civil society, academia, business, politics and administration.  >> Further information


Berlin Governance Platform gGmbH (the former Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform)

The Quelle Innovation Foundation, which is affiliated with the Maecenata Foundation, is a shareholder of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform gGmbH (HVGP), which was founded in 2014 and renamed the Berlin Governance Platform gGmbH (BGP) in 2022. Its aim is to enable the Maecenata Foundation to actively participate in its work. The BGP aims to facilitate discourses between politics, science, civil society and business through so-called trialogues and thus promote political agendas. This corresponds to one of the main goals established during the Maecenata Foundation’s strategic reorientation.

Its President is Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan, the Chairman of the General Assembly is Peter Heller and its Board of Directors is that of the Canopus Foundation in Freiburg.

Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea)

Die Maecenata Stiftung ist Mitglied der Philanthropy Europe Association (Philea), einer internationalen Vereinigung von Stiftungen und sozial engagierten Unternehmen, die sich auf europäischer Ebene für den Stiftungsgedanken und die Förderung der Philanthropie einsetzen. Weitere Ziele und Aktivitäten sind die Aufbereitung und Dokumentation der Stiftungs- und Spendenlandschaft, die Stärkung der Infrastruktur im Dritten Sektor, die Förderung von Kooperationen und die Förderung des Gemeinwohls in und außerhalb Europas.

Netzwerk Die Engagierten Europäer

The Foundation is a member of the Netzwerk Die Engagierten Europäer (The Engaged Europeans Network) (EE), which includes 11 German foundations that are involved in the European project. In addition the Maecenata, these are: the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the BMW Herbert Quandt, the Non-Profit Hertie Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe, the Genshagen Foundation, the Mercator Foundation, the Future Berlin Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation.

Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement

The Maecenata Foundation has traditionally held a close and trusting working relationship with the Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement (BBE) (this translates to the Federal Network for Civic Engagement), that goes beyond its membership. Staff members of the Maecenata Institute have been intensively involved in the work of its Civil Society Research and International and Europe working groups in previous years. Maecenata’s employess have published articles in the BBE’s newsletter and in BBE Europe on several occasions. Dr Ansgar Klein, the BBE’s Managing Director, frequently takes part in the Maecenata Foundation’s Research Collegium.

The International Society for Third-Sector Research

Through the Maecenata Institute, the Foundation is linked to the  International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR). In Autumn 2018, as is often the case, Rupert Strachwitz acted as a reviewer for the abstracts submitted for presentation at that year’s conference. The Institute also successfully applied for a roundtable on their research project on religious communities and civil society in Europe. Strachwitz and the Institute’s Deputy Director, Siri Hummel, participated in the 2022 conference in Montreal.

Bündnis für Gemeinnützigkeit

The Bündnis für Gemeinnützigkeit (Alliance for Non-Profits) is an association of larger independent and umbrella organisations from the third sector, as well as experts and academics. Its aim is so strengthen the third sector’s identity, importance, external impact and cooperative ability to act in relation to politics and administration. Through its Institute, the Maecenata Foundation has been a member of the Advisory Board from the very beginning.

Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen

The Maecenata Foundation is a member of the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen (Federal Association of German Foundations). It represents the interests of more than 22,000 foundations in Germany. With over 4,300 members, we are the largest and oldest association of foundations in Europe.

Initiative Transparente Zivilgesellschaft

In 2011, the Maecenata Foundation was one of the initiators of the Initiative Transparente Zivilgesellschaft (Transparent Civil Society Initiative) (ITZ) and has been involved in its sponsors ever since. This ensures that the initiative is disseminated, randomly checks compliance and is responsible for the further development of the content and organisation. The Maecenata Foundation has also been a signatory of the initiative for many years.

Global NPO Coalition on FATF

Since 2015, the Foundation has been involved in an informal international working group that deals with the recommendations of the intergovernmental organisation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that are relevant for civil society organisations. The FATF’s recommendations particularly relate to the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism and are recognised as binding in over 180 countries around the world. Christian Schreier, Managing Director of the Maeceneata Foundation, regularly takes part in the working group.

The Board

• Stefanie Wahl: since 2012 – Chairwoman since 2018
• Victoria Weber: since 2011
• Dr. Heike Kahl: since 2019

Our trustees: Victoria Weber, Stefanie Wahl, Dr Heike Kahl

• Dr. Rupert Graf Strachwitz: since 2011
• Dr. Felix Weber: since 2014

Our Board: Dr Rupert Graf Strachwitz and Dr Felix Weber

Associates and Fellows

Associated Academics:

• Dr. Mareike Alscher: since 2016

• Dr. Nora Derbal: since 2012

• Dr. Henning v. Vieregge: since 2013

Maecenata Institute Fellows:

• Prof. Dr. Thomas Adam: University of Texas at Arlington; since 2012

• Prof. Dr. Frank Adloff: Universität Hamburg; since 2012

• Dr. Elke Bojarra-Becker: Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik; since 2012

• Dr. Marwa El-Daly: American University Cairo; since 2012

• Thomas Ebermann, Dipl. Kfm.: Geschäftsführer Gutes Stiften GmbH; since 2012

• Prof. Dr. Eva Maria Hinterhuber: Hochschule Rhein-Waal; since 2010

• Dr. Philipp Hoelscher: Phineo gemeinnützige AG; since 2006

• PD Dr. Ansgar Klein: Geschäftsführer des BBE; since 2011

• Sabine Reimer, Dipl.-Soz.: Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft; since 2006

• Susanne Rindt, M.A.: Arbeiterwohlfahrt; since 2006

• Bernhard Matzak, M.A.: Tocqueville Forum; since 2022

• Dr. Rainer Sprengel: Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement; since 2006

• Prof. Dr. Stefan Toepler: George Mason University; since 1997